Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Midlands man is being honored with a Congressional Gold Medal in Washington D.C. later this week.
"I was drafted in April 1945," said James Knotts.
When Knotts, 92, joined the Marines, segregation came with serving your country.
"If you were black you could not go to Parris Island or Camp Pendleton, you had to go to Monford Point North Carolina," said Knotts.
The blacks who went through boot camp at Monford Point were some of the first African Americans to become Marines. Knotts remembers in 1947 when he was invited to the Marine Corps ball.
"They sent me an invitation because they did not know I was black so I went and they said I wasn't white so I had to go back," he said. "Naturally I felt left out because I served my country just like they did.I wasnt in battle but I gave my life for my country, I gave my life for my country. "
Now Knotts will finally be recognized for his service with a Congressional Gold Medal.
"Its a great honor to me to be going to Washington D.C. To be black it's a great honor, I never thought it would happen. "
His daughter, Carrie Knotts Jackson, says this is history in the making for many reasaons.
"When he found out that he would get to meet the president or see him up close is historical for him because in his time he never thought he would even see a black president," said Knotts-Jackson.
Now the country he spent his career serving will show their respect.